26th April of each year is set aside to mark World Intellectual Property Day. The aim is to discuss the role of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity. This year’s theme is Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), “This year’s World Intellectual Property Day campaign celebrates the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.”
Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by patents, copyrights and trademarks which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from their invention or creation.
One should be aware of what type of protection their intellectual property needs. Sound recordings, audio visual works, literary works, artistic works and software need to be copyrighted. This is done by the Kenya Copyright Board.
Patents protect inventions and give the patent owner the right to decide how or if the invention can be used by other people. Trademarks protect the sign or name distinguishing the goods or services of one company from the goods and services of another company. Patents and trademarks are granted by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
These are just a few examples of the protections available to various types of intellectual property. It is important for creators and inventors to know where their creation or invention falls and which type of protection is appropriate for them.
In keeping with this year’s theme, we will briefly look at a few Kenyan female creators and inventors whose works are made possible due to the protections their intellectual property receives.
Mary Ogembo is one of the top female artists in East Africa. She draws her inspiration from African women, depicting their beauty and daily lives on canvas. She has exhibited in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Egypt, France and Canada.
Another type of artist is popularly known as Muthoni the Drummer Queen. She has come up with the concept of African Nouveau as she continues to grow in her artistry as a rap/hip hop artist. Her recent album ‘She’ tells stories about women in her unique style.
In the film world we have Waruri Kahiu who describes herself as being part of the new generation of African storytellers. She has written and directed 6 films and her film Rafiki is the first Kenyan feature film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival 2018 as part of the Official Un Certain Regard Selection.
In the tech world we have Catherine Kiguru who is the founder and chief innovator of Ukall Limited, a tech startup that provides Akida. Akida is a mobile-based application that tracks staff in the field.
These are just a few examples of the female innovators and creators we have in Kenya. They would not exist if there was no way for them to protect their intellectual property so that they could benefit from it.
Celebrate World Intellectual Property Day by registering your IP and by respecting others protected Intellectual Property.